According to former all-rounder Ajit Agarkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni's position as Test captain may become untenable if India lose the upcoming five-match series against England. The first Test starts in Nottingham on July 9. (Read: India beat Derbyshire)
With Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar retired and Zaheer Khan unavailable, Dhoni is leading a talented young side this time and will be under pressure to a prevent a repeat of the 2011 horror show when England blanked India 4-0 at home. (Read: It's Time to Right a Wrong: Ganguly)
"Dhoni has the added job to score runs as he is one of the few experienced guys in the team. In case he fails to score with the bat, his position as a player becomes a question straightaway," Agarkar told ESPNCricinfo in an audio interview.
Agarkar feels India have continued with Dhoni as Test captain because there is no man to replace him.
"Lost 10 straight Test matches away from home is not a record to be proud of. They have hung on to Dhoni as long as they can because there is no one else. Virat (Kohli) is the only one who is a certainty in the Test line-up and (Cheteshwar) Pujara has just come in. May be it's too early for Kohli, but if Dhoni loses this Test series, there will be serious questions," said Agarkar. (Read: Don't Need Advice: Kohli)
Former England spinner and coach Ashley Giles was more diplomatic in his views. "I am not sure if you can blame Dhoni. India's focus has been on ODIs and they have tasted huge success. Dhoni can't do the job on his own. He is a good leader," said Giles.
"Having played against him as a coach, Dhoni leads from the front and tactically good. Often Test captains are as good as the side around them. Look at Michael Clarke...with Mitchell Johnson's form, any captain will look like a genius and (Alastair) Cook right now is struggling to win games," Giles added.
Giles says Dhoni may not be sacked even if India lost the series in England. "I will be surprised if called Dhoni's head, India win or lose...who knows what other politics may be behind it," Giles said, probably hinting that Dhoni enjoys the blessings of India cricket's top bosses.
Even if Kohli seems to be the man to succeed Dhoni, both Giles and Agarkar feel the Delhi batsman is still not ready for the job. Agarkar says Kohli has shown the hallmarks to be one of the greats of the game with Test hundreds in Australia and South Africa. But captaincy could put Kohli under serious pressure. India need him to score the runs now, said Agarkar.